Out back of Oregon

“See the rabbit ears?” "Where?!" I asked, looking around and then following the line of her arm. I looked up, up, up so high that it hurt my neck, and at the very tallest part of the mountain I saw two steep potatoes of rock that sprouted up higher than the rest. “Is he behind those ear-shaped rocks?” I panted.

You just had to be there.

The best trails play out like a story. Some trails are like chapter books with sections of different scenery that each tell a little tale. Other hikes center around one big feature, and follow a story arc up a mountain or around something impressive-looking. But in Arnold we hiked for miles through forests that went into too much detail without moving forward, like a story that you didn't realize was dull until you'd already started telling it. (Mom tells those kinds of stories all the time.)

Opportunity cost

The trail turned out to be an easy 7-mile flat route that followed a happy river through the pine trees to a waterfall. “Isn’t this great, Mom?” I said. “No dirt roads to get here, no mountains to climb, no big trees blown over the trail, no dog-boiling weather... Just a nice, easy run through the pine trees.”

An enchanted mountain, and the moon

The thing that had turned Mom into a a cream puff was that there was a perfect waterfall falling from right above our heads. It was small enough that its roar wasn’t scary and you could look at it all at once, and it spit a mist into the air that made the air sparkle. All around the waterfall were shiny rocks with bright green furry moss decorating them, and next to the big waterfall were smaller blue ice waterfalls. On the ground there were giant chunks of ice that were perfectly clear and looked like soccer-ball-sized diamonds. We were in a fairy land for tough people, like that elf city in Lord of the Rings (obviously, I’m Legolas and Mom is Gimli).

Water, water everywhere

As we were getting close to the ledge, Mom’s foot slipped. It probably only slipped a millimeter, but that was enough to turn her into a screaming fool. The trouble was that the path was steep enough that when she turned around to flee, she found her nose right in my manly chest hair. Since there was a handsome dog blocking her escape, she screamed even uglier. The problem was that she had tied that handsome, trail-blocking dog around her waist, so he couldn't get out of her way, no matter how ugly her screams.

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